Is There Any More Tea In That Pot?

Everyday events in the life of a tea lover.

Friday, 29 June 2012

Flash floods, deluge, fierce storms... So much for brief respite!!

Yesterday morning, the 28th June, Thursday, the sky became inky black. It was 10.15am.
The school opposite our house had switched on all the lights.
In our garden my solar powered lamps began to glow, obviously mistaking the gloom for the onset of night time.
 A flash illuminated the room momentarily.......then the unmistakable rumbling of thunder.
I had an appointment in our local town, about a mile and a half away, around 10.50am.
Meanwhile Tiger hid behind the settee, hating thunderstorms.

But what followed wasn't anything like I have ever seen here in all the 30 years living in this house.

I ran to the car, and the rain was sweeping down with such a force that soon the roads were awash, cars using windscreen wipers on full, with full beam headlights. I set off in hope. 

My phone rang just as I was parking the car several minutes later. It was the person I was going to see, worried that somehow the storm would have slowed the traffic. As it happened there were not many to be seen. 
So, rolling up my trouser legs until they were covered by my long raincoat, I had no choice except to press on having purchased my parking ticket. 
The storm was fierce and the wind bending the trees. 
I had to cross the main road to reach my destination, this proved hazardous, by now the water had made it like a small river, flowing fairly fast down the hill. 
 I  took a step and my shoes were covered but by this time the sheer bizarreness of it for some reason made me want to laugh! The water came up to my ankles.  
I arrived with sopping wet shoes and feet. 
And still the water deluged out of the sky....................
By the time I left to go shopping it had eased somewhat, so I decided to venture to the mall.

As I left there about a half hour later, I could see a huge oncoming blackness and thought I'd better head to the car. It was midday, but looked like midnight.
I didn't make it before the next deluge began, even more fierce than the last. 
The road was worse than ever and by the time I got to the car park, I was past caring how wet I was, even with a big umbrella. 
The last time I saw and experienced anything like that was in Brisbane, Australia, where we were subjected to a tropical monsoon of rain. 

I drove home and had to negotiate several areas of flooded road way. As we live on higher ground than the town, the water was running down towards the centre. Cars were creating huge waves which fell on the pavements, and if you happened to be passing, you had no chance! 
The storm roared on, crashing and banging till it moved slowly on it's way. 
When I reached the railway bridge which spans one of our local roads, being in a slight dip, it was flooded underneath. The only way to pass through was to drive slowly in the middle of the road, and cars approaching there from opposite directions, waited  in a queue, because it would have been dangerous to drive immediately one after the other, as the water was displaced making it deeper at either side.
So, I arrived on our drive and breathed a sigh of relief! 
Some people were not so fortunate, having their homes and businesses flooded. 
Apparently we had a third of a month's (June) rainfall in an hour and a half!
The storms headed North creating chaos in their wake. 
Yet, having seen the storm drain covers lifting and water cascading out like fountains, by 4.00pm, the sun was out, it was 24C and the garden plants, although windblown, had benefitted once more from the outpouring skies.      
Now today, the weather has been kinder, warm, sunny, with a stiff breeze, and yesterday like some   passing nightmare. For us, at least. 
The garden today, Friday, June 29th 2012.
 So, the burning question is............what will happen next? 
Who knows! 
Even the weather men are apologising for the lack of summer so far, but casting our mind's back, it was only in March and April they were saying if we didn't have significant amounts of rain, drought was a certainty this year!!! 
So they had their wish, more than "significant amounts of rain" have fallen, in a short space of time, and our rivers are overflowing, the underground aquivers are replenished, and all is tickety boo! You think? 
In the words of our two well known old-school comedians,
" Bring me sunshine................"    

  BBC weather site 29th June 2012:

April to June this year has been the wettest second quarter in the UK since records began in 1910.
The figure was confirmed on a second day of disruption after torrential rain doused parts of the country leaving thousands without power.
Transport and schools were also affected after Wales, the Midlands, north-east England, Northern Ireland and parts of Scotland were deluged.
Even without the latest storms, this is the second wettest June since 1910.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

After the deluge of yesterday, a little respite! June 23rd 2012.

Tiger inside his crinkle bag.  
Our moggy, Tiger, was so disgusted with the rain that fell on him yesterday, that he took refuge in his "crinkle bag" when he got back indoors.
It really is a kind of plaything for cats, as they love the rustle of paper. At least all our other cats  enjoyed the sound.
We had a mad cat once called Rigsby, who moved in here from next door. (By mutual consent of his owner.)
He had a thing about newspaper if it was on the floor, diving into it and generally tearing it up!
We had a Michelin map spread out once day on the carpet, planning a route through France, when Rigsby, who must have been hiding behind the settee, ran out and jumped slap bang in the middle, rolling all over it and scrunching it in his claws! 
These days satnavs and Google Maps and direction finders have taken over. 
All the same, when we go to France in the autumn we are taking a bona fide old-fashioned route map, just in case! 
So, our present cat has a crinkle bag which he likes to roll in and jump on, as it makes a sound he particularly enjoys.        

Ingrid flowered despite the rain yesterday.
After the flooding in Lancashire yesterday, and and the curtailing of some Olympic torch route events, today the flame passed through the region of my birth, in fact passing the very end of the street in which I was born. So I was able to take a nostalgic tour "live" with the BBC, travelling the route with the torch bearers, until it reached the town where I grew up, Rawtenstall, Lancashire, and where I knew my cousins were actually there watching the procession. It was great to watch it "live" on camera on the laptop, and see all the old familiar places. Made me feel quite emotional! It was as though I was on a bus looking out at all the bystanders waving flags and cheering! Then I would pass the school I attended, and the woods where we used to play, the church where I was married and where two years ago, we had my dad's funeral service. (He being a regular member) And the church was nearly full. So, not only an Olympic torch event for me but a whole lot more of history.                
Now I really ought to get something done, and the sun is out, so the garden is beckoning! The ironing can wait!

Friday, 22 June 2012

Summer has officially arrived......could someone please tell the weather!

Wednesday, June 20th ought to have had the accolade for the first official day
of summer! It had everything going for it. Sunshine, from dawn at 3.50am, to
sunset at
9.30pm. Warmth and blue where did it go|?
Tiger Wednesday June 20th 2012. Temperature 24C
"Ingrid Bergman" about to bloom
Wednesday June 20th 2012 Glorious day. 

As I was on the train going to Bristol yesterday, Midsummer's Day in the Northern Hemisphere, June 21st, I looked out of the window to see curtains of rain falling on sodden waterlogged fields.  
In some places there was so much damp  that there was white mist everywhere.
June 21st being the Summer Solstice, and the official beginning of summer. The 15,000 people who had gathered at Stonehenge in Wiltshire to see the sun rise between the ancient prehistoric stones, were ankle deep in mud.
 I was still cosily tucked under the duvet at that point in time.
I carried on my journey enjoying a good book, a cup of coffee and a bar of chocolate.
Comfort food!
It didn't really improve, but as I was spending the day meeting my daughter-in-law and grandson, it
meant at least that the parlous state of the first day of summer did not unduly bother me. We were indoors in the warm and dry.
As I write, it is sheeting it down outside and the dark clouds scudding across a dismal sky.
Summer!! Bah!
Yet, and yet, there is always hope,...........
My mother had a saying, and we still quote it even now,
"It's fairing up a bit"
We used to look at her incredulously when sitting in some seaside shelter in, what seemed to us, a force ten gale and driving rain!
"It's fairing up a bit???"
"Nah, you're havin' a laugh!" we probably thought.
I think Tiger decided it would improve today, 22nd, when he went and sat under a bush all morning in great indignation at once more having his activities curtailed. At least on Wednesday, 20th June, there was sun and warmth.  And he caught a field mouse, promptly taking it over the hedge into next door's garden, before I could coax him to give it to me. He has got wise to that!            
Tiger sheltering under a bush from the rain, Friday 22nd June 2012 
 So, no mousing today I'm afraid, too wet for mice!

"Rain, rain, go away, come again another day "

The garden looks good, but enough is enough, bring back the sunshine!!!

Poppy about to flower  

BBC News quote.
"Stormy weather is causing disruption to sporting and cultural events, including the Olympic torch relay.
A festival to mark the torch's arrival in Blackpool has been moved inside as organisers say participants are facing the tour's wettest weather so far. (June 22nd 2012)
The Isle of Wight Festival site is waterlogged and England's cricket match against the West Indies was called off.Forecasters say heavy rain is affecting Northern England, Northern Ireland, North Wales and south-west Scotland.
The Met Office has an amber "be prepared" warning in place in England for the North West, East Midlands, Yorkshire and Humber, West Midlands, and in Northern Ireland, north Wales, south west Scotland, Lothian Borders, Strathclyde, Central, and Tayside and Fife.
It has also warning of severe conditions for parts of Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Lancashire. Up to 50-60mm (2-2.4in) of rainfall is expected and in some places that could rise to 100mm (4in)." 
No more to add to that!!!

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Making the most of the good days! The great British summer....

Although we English generally have a tendency to moan about the weather, when the sun comes out, we do make the most of it, where possible. I took a selection of photos on holiday in Cornwall, and include some of them here.  We had a few days, on our way home, staying with friends in Bude in North Cornwall. It happened to be the Diamond Jubilee Weekend. The Monday was actually fine and sunny, so we spent the time out and about, enjoying the sight of people just taking part in activities or simply sitting and savouring the novelty of a fine sunny day!   . 
Castle Grounds Bude, Cornwall.
Taken during the celebrations for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee   
Here I quote from the BBC weather site.
"A very disappointing start to summer
Has June really started? The Queen's Jubilee river pageant was badly hampered by rain and notably low temperatures, it wasn't just Prince Philip that fell ill, some 500 or so spectators were treated for June. Then an unusually deep low headed our way bringing a lot of rain, very strong winds and quite a bit of disruption. A few trees were toppled, bringing down some power lines and affecting transport networks, and numerous marquees were blown off their moorings. Two campsites in west Wales were inundated with flood water and the Third Test at Edgbaston was washed out for the opening two days, the first time that has happened in England, in June, for 48 years.
I think you'll agree that the start of summer has failed to get anyone excited, shorts and tee-shirts still in the wardrobe and no real signs of things settling down for a while." 

Enjoying an icecream at Porthleven 
 Inspite of all that, we did have some warm days, and the ladies sitting enjoying their icecreams benefitted from the unexpected improvement!
Porthleven Harbour. Cornwall.

St Ives beach. Cornwall
 Not many people sitting on this beach, as there was a keen wind blowing. But St Ives has so many  nooks and crannies to explore, and for me, so many artists' shops. Some of them with artists actually in situe, painting. I love it!
Mullion Cove. The Lizard. Cornwall
My favourite place of all time. Timeless, beautiful, and always the same. I took this photo on a particularly lovely evening during our week's stay. We've already arranged to be back once more, as ever, next year, and who knows? maybe the pull of the beauty and peace will draw us back in between. I will never tire of this place, after 20 years of holidaying here, and as long as I am able, will be returning to the Lizard.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Topsy turvy summer????? June 2012

After we came back from a break in Cornwall recently, the garden had suddenly taken off! The poppies had appeared everywhere growing at a tremendous pace.

The effect of all the sunshine before we went away followed by lots of rain, especially this past week, made the grass a lush luminous green and the roses needed staking as it became windy towards mid week.

It has been an up and down summer so far, unsettled, and so much rain recently that several places have been flooded.

Nevertheless the plants look good. But by now I think we are all beginning to hope that the rain would fall during the night!!    

So as once more it is raining hard outside, and my hubby's cricket match was cancelled, (he would've been umpiring today)
I wonder if summer will actually come along sometime, and surprise us with a glimpse of sun in the sky!

Poppies everywhere!

Rain drops on the alchemilla mollis 

Sunshine and very heavy showers!!

Saturday, 9 June 2012

A place to unwind............June 9th 2012

Today I was with a small group of friends, and my husband, at a beautiful retreat centre in Worcestershire. It was a fine day at the end of a week of monsoon like weather, which resulted in the cancellation of the first two days of the 3rd Test match in Birmingham.... being a total washout. 
Goodness knows what the West Indian players make of the vagaries of our English climate! The first match being in London in May, in freezing cold conditions, and the second at the end of May in a mini heat wave!!  

Holland House Retreat Centre. Worcestershire.    
It has 3 acres of wonderful grounds which stretch down to the River Avon. Lots of nooks and crannies and hidden corners in which to lose oneself and enjoy the peace. I was sitting in a secluded  spot later in the afternoon, when I fell asleep for awhile. The tension unwinding and the sun warm on my face, listening to the sound of the wind in the trees and the song of a wren, amongst others.   

Each of us chose to relax in the way which was beneficial to the one involved. In the chapel, sketching pictures, snoozing, listening to music, or reading. We were provided with coffee on arrival, and a mid morning snack.    
The chapel.

 Lunch was served at 1.00pm, in a lovely dining-room, with other groups who were there.These were taking part in organised acitivites. We chose to be together as friends at certain times, then gave each other breathing space.  

Then afternoon tea was served at 4.00pm, and so our day came to a close. But I know it won't be the last time................and everyone agreed!
 As I love taking photos, and had not brought my camera along, my mobile phone came in handy. I had it on silent, so I wouldn't be are one or two taken along the way........    

A quiet corner

A damsel fly by the river
The resident cat! A real softy despite the wild look!



A secluded bench by the river. Perfect for quiet moments.............  

Need a break..............................I know the perfect place............................................